Stephen King: The policy to print money is right but we must be told how it works

There is something wonderfully quirky about the way in which a major change in monetary arrangements is announced in the UK. Not for us a detailed paper outlining the new monetary process, the intermediate and ultimate measures of success, the longer-term implications and the possible exit strategies. Instead, we get an exchange of letters. Next time, perhaps we'll get a postcard: "Dear Chancellor ... having a wonderful time although weather cloudy ... have come across this thing called a printing press ... looks great, but must be used carefully ... love Merv xx."

Stephen King: As capitalism stares into the abyss, was Marx right all along?

We may avoid a 1930s Depression but the best we can hope for may be a 1990s Japan

Stephen King: Let's admit that rate cuts will not end the crisis, printing money will

Chugger chugger chugger chugger"... yes, it's the sound of the printing press. With UK interest rates down to 1 per cent and US interest rates at zero, it's no longer possible to pretend that rate cuts alone will bring this economic crisis to an end. In the monetary sphere, something else needs to be done. Central bankers can no longer be content merely focusing on the price of money: in real, inflation-adjusted terms, they no longer have any influence. They also need to act on the quantity of money.

Stephen King: Roquefort cheese dispute may be first whiff of a return to financial nationalism

As a symbol of the growing protectionist backlash, it’s hard to beat the protests in the UK last Friday. Repeating Gordon Brown’s pledge to create “British jobs for British workers,” the protesters demanded protection against foreign workers in the construction industry.

Stephen King: The Bank of England needs to look back – and think the unthinkable

On 24 October 1930, a report from the British government's Economic Advisory Council was circulated by Ramsay MacDonald, the Prime Minister, to his Cabinet. The Economic Advisory Council consisted of the great and the good of the economics profession, and was chaired by John Maynard Keynes. Its terms of reference were "to review the present economic condition of Great Britain, to examine the causes ... and to indicate the conditions of recovery."

Stephen King: Bank of England was powerless in the face of excessive credit growth

Rationing is associated with the Second World War, austerity Britain in the late 1940s and early 1950s and, for those familiar with Moscow pre-Glasnost, the empty shelves of GUM, the Soviet Union's leading, but mostly empty, department store in the 1970s and 1980s. Rationing has, though, made a spectacular return. You won't see it in the shops, or online, or on the forecourts of used car dealers. In financial markets, though, it's all the rage.

Stephen King: You can't buy confidence when the economy is in a state of collapse

'In the bleak midwinter ... " Britain's weather may be distinctly chilly at the moment, but its economic climate is a lot frostier. And unlike the weather, there's no escape. Economically, it's hard to find sunnier climes elsewhere in the world.

Stephen King: First the Chinese accumulated dollars, now everyone is joining the stampede

What caused the crisis? For some, the story is simple. It’s all about global imbalances.

Stephen King: In rush to embrace Keynes, are we forgetting the vital role of markets?

There are moments in any economic cycle when one's worst fears are confirmed. Friday's US employment release provided one of those occasions. Those who were hanging on to the belief that, somehow, there was a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street will have to think again.

Stephen King: Bernanke's blueprint for dealing with the horrors of debt deflation

In late-2002, Ben Bernanke, now the chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave a speech entitled "Deflation: Making Sure 'It' Doesn't Happen Here". Then, Mr Bernanke was merely a Fed Governor and had yet to make his way to the very summit of the central banking profession. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the thoughts expressed in that speech are thoughts which, once again, are very relevant.

Stephen King: If interest rate cuts cannot solve the money shortage, turn on the printing press

As people hoard money, so output weakens and prices fall, as in the 1930s

Stephen King: Another British currency crisis – it's enough to make you feel nostalgic

Stick your head out of the window, inhale deeply, and enjoy the sweet, yet sickly, scent of nostalgia. It's everywhere. On a Saturday night, you can settle down in front of the television to watch the X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing, throwbacks to the days of Opportunity Knocks, New Faces and the BBC's Seaside Special. You can bask in the reflected glory of our summer Olympians who won the most British medals since the 1908 Olympics when the tug o' war was, apparently, taken rather seriously. Or you can look at sterling's sudden collapse and think of the seemingly countless occasions when Britain's economic prospects were undone as a result of a currency crisis.

Stephen King: Creditor nations may be looking to pick up some corporate silverware

In one sense, next Saturday's G20 meeting in Washington comes too early. George Bush is still in the White House, even though he no longer sets America's economic agenda. Barack Obama, the man who will set the agenda, won't really be able to do much of substance until 20 January and, according to reports, has no intention of being anywhere other than Chicago next weekend. Nevertheless, the world's financial system is in crisis. Even if the US administration is impotent, it is better to establish some form of international dialogue. Or we could find ourselves hurtling towards protectionism.

Stephen King: Sometimes the economic beauty contest gets us into an ugly mess

Given Alan Greenspan's dose of the doubts last week, at what level should we trust markets? The strongest defence is, surely, the idea that markets provide the best single way of allocating the world's scarce resources. Unfettered capitalism, on this view, is desirable because it potentially makes all of us better off.

Stephen King: Memo to Gordon... think radical and dump the Bank's inflation target

Whisper it quietly, but it's just possible that the Bank of England's inflation target contains a fatal flaw.

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Tesco’s new boss Dave Lewis has decided to buy out Euphorium completely. Jim Armitage reports
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Bernanke’s move does show the more subtle side of the Washington-Wall Street nexus, says Jim Armitage
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For Britain’s multinationals, a global economic recovery looks to be under way, says Jim Armitage
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There is no reason to expect secular stagnation – even if it is hard to see quite where growth will come from, says Hamish McRae
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Margrethe Vestager, the EU's new competition watchdog and one of the most prominent and well-liked figures in Danish politics, has taken on the technology giant over its alleged abuse of the market. Oscar Williams-Grut reports
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Ben Chu asks: has the industry really absorbed the fund segregation lesson? And are regulators succeeding in enforcing the rules?
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David Cameron unveils the Conservative party manifesto in Swindon (PA)
The OBR was told by the last government not to audit the election manifestos. Jamie Murray on why that should change.
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The Tories want to revive and extend Margaret Thatcher’s flagship housing policy. Ben Chu looks at what the possible consequences could be
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Tony and Cherie Blair on the day he was elected
Mark Leftly with Parliamentary Business
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British Gas announced yesterday that it will cut bills – but only by 5 per cent, and not until the end of next month, when the coldest weather is likely to be over
But shareholders in Centrica will take heart. Even as customers may brace for  the worst, says Jim Armitage
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Paper trail: Deidre has a crack team of letter-writing lieuten-aunts, armed with cups of tea and a bank of good sense
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Shopping on Oxford Street: the new year begins with a rise in VAT, which will impact on high-street spending
There’s something perverse about the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to block Poundland’s attempted takeover of 99p Stores, says Simon Neville
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Ferdinand Piech, the chairman, at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany
Ferdinand Piëch, the powerful chair of VW, has fallen out with his chief executive and protégé Martin Winterkorn. Tony Patterson lifts the bonnet and examines what’s going on at the German automobile giant
News
The Conservative party is ahead of Labour in the polls for the first time since 2011, with the NHS likely to matter more to people than the economy when they decide how to vote in the general election (EPA)
Be sceptical when you hear tales of impending financial panic during election campaigns, warns Ben Chu
News
China’s size and complexity frequently obscures its reality, says Satyajit Das
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Max-Hervé,  a Frenchman who lives in Switzerland, does not immediately strike you as a financial terrorist or a man who might be a billionaire by the end of the decade.
The Frenchman could end up destroying, or owning, the company which runs the pension funds for hundreds of thousands of people. John Lichfield speaks to him
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Labour says higher corporation tax would be used to finance a cut in business rates. David Prosser reports
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The trade deficit has worsened amid difficulties in export markets
The UK’s trade deficit worsened by much more than had been expected, says David Blanchflower
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Number 16: ExxonMobil President and CEO Rex Tillerson, his company is the world's biggest oil and gas producer
Even taking Exxon’s recent chest beating about its appetite for deals Jim Armitage thinks it's unlikely
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